Spanish Immersion Overview
Imagine your child having the ability to speak more than just one language! While the United States lags behind other countries in teaching this invaluable skill, Oakland Christian School students have the unique opportunity to be bilingual, bi-literate, and bicultural at an early age. Through our Spanish Immersion partnership with add.a.lingua, dual language immersion experts, we offer a comprehensive language immersion program. This program is a unique option for students who want to become proficient in Spanish. One hundred percent of the grade-level content that is taught within the classroom is in Spanish. Once students reach 3rd grade, they receive some English instruction within the classroom.
Research indicates that learning a second language at an early age allows for greater native language competency and academic success. The goal of the immersion program is to produce bilingual students who are high academic achievers, proficient in Spanish, and both knowledgeable and appreciative of other Spanish-speaking cultures. Our goal is to see students develop their ability to share Christ-like love with speakers of other languages.
Kindergarten - 2nd Grade
Students in Kindergarten through 2nd grade receive 100% of their content instruction in the classroom in Spanish. This includes reading, math, language arts, science, social studies and Bible. Teachers use visuals, motions, repetition, and modeling to ensure comprehensible input for students. Students learn how to use resources to help them communicate only in Spanish.
Enrichment classes such as physical education, music, art, technology and chapel are taught in English.
3rd Grade - 5th Grade
In 3rd grade through 5th grade, students continue to receive the majority of their academic instruction in Spanish, expanding their vocabulary, refining their grammar, and becoming more complex and sophisticated in their language use.
English instruction is introduced in 3rd grade and increases in 4th and 5th grade. Enrichment classes such as physical education, music, art, technology and chapel are taught in English.
Spanish Immersion FAQ's
Second language immersion happens best when started at an early age. Therefore, at OCS, students may enter this program in Kindergarten or the first semester of first grade. The Spanish Immersion program begins in Kindergarten and extends through high school. Strategic curriculum shifts at pivotal points in the Spanish Immersion timetable ensure that students grow and learn in both Spanish and English.
- The most important thing you can do for your child is read aloud in English. This exposes your child to English books and models fluent English reading.
- Be positive and encouraging! Your child will follow your lead, so model for them how exciting it is to be able to learn a second language.
- Listen to your child read in Spanish. Even if you don't understand what they are reading, it's good practice for them!
- Help with homework using English instructions. Many teachers will send an English copy of the homework instructions or will explain homework assignments in their parent letter. Even though your child may be completing their homework in Spanish, you can help make sure they understand the assignment and are completing the requirements.
English instruction begins in 3rd grade. Until this point, students may seem behind their peers when comparing English reading or writing, but they are actually working at grade level in Spanish. They aren't actually behind when comparing their reading skills, they're just doing it in another language.
Once English instruction begins, students transfer the reading and writing skills they learned in Spanish to English (for example, directionality, decoding, comprehension strategies, etc.). English-specific skills that are not transferable from Spanish are addressed in 3rd-5th grade.
Although the Spanish Immersion program at Oakland Christian School is unique to southeast Michigan, school districts and private schools in other parts of the country (especially in the south) are much further along in offering dual language programs. Even in Michigan, the west side of the state has multiple Spanish immersion schools who are further advanced in their dual language programs. However, we are proud to be entering our 6th year of this program and moving our first class into middle school in the Fall!
For many years, students in other countries around the world have been involved in dual language learning. English is the language they learn at school in addition to the native language spoken in their country. Many people from other countries have successful careers in the US because of their bilingual ability. The research on the benefits of dual language education continues to mount in favor of this type of instruction.
By licensing add.a.lingua materials, participating in on-going professional learning, and regularly assessing our immersion students in the language of instruction, Oakland Christian has committed itself to the highest standards of excellence in dual language immersion education.
Oakland Christian School is part of a professional learning network that implements add.a.lingua immersion programs and follows a specific program design, participates in a comprehensive professional learning sequence, implements formative assessments on a set schedule, and receives access to the most relevant research in the field of dual language immersion education.
We believe that through our partnership with add.a.lingua and our outstanding team of immersion teachers, Oakland Christian School is committed to providing the highest standard of dual language immersion education.
Excitement and satisfaction with the Spanish Immersion program remains high, as we continue to retain over 98% of our students in this program.
Our oldest class in the program has been assessed in English (while being taught the core subjects in Spanish) on nationally normed assessments (NWEA MAP) over all their years in the program. The results show that our students have met or exceeded grade-level expectations in reading, math, language, and science. This is strong evidence to the claim that knowledge transfers between languages.
We have retained our teaching staff as they continue to grow professionally with the prescribed training from add.a.lingua.
Our students have excelled in communicating in Spanish in places where only Spanish is spoken. Many of our students have been on family trips in Spanish-speaking areas and their child is successfully communicating in that environment with parents hearing, “your child speaks so well in Spanish and also their accent is great.”